At a time when India-Pakistan ties are at an all-time low in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack, an MP of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and held discussions with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday.
Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, a Hindu parliamentarian from Pakistan, denied Islamabad’s involvement in the February 14 incident, where a Jaish-e-Mohammad suicide bomber killed 40 CRPF personnel in the single bloodiest attack in the Valley in three decades.
“I assured (Sushma Swaraj) that there is no Pakistani involvement in the Pulwama attack. We should move in a positive direction, we want peace,” ANI quoted Vankwani, a high-profile leader of the Hindus in Pakistan, as saying.
The MP of the Imran Khan-led party was part of a foreign delegation that was invited to attend the Kumbh Mela by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). Vankwani also met Minister of State of External Affairs VK Singh on the sidelines of the event.
In his first comments on the Pulwama attack, Pakistan PM Imran Khan said that Islamabad was open to an investigation into the incident if India provided any “actionable intelligence” while, at the same time, warning against any “revenge” retaliatory action.
Besides reinstating a ban on 26/11 mastermind and UN-proscribed terrorist Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and its surrogate, the Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF), Pakistan has taken control of a mosque-and-seminary complex in Bahawalpur. This complex, said Dawn, is believed to be the headquarters of the banned Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).
On Thursday, the UN Security Council issued a statement that “condemned in the strongest terms” the Pulwama attack, and named Jaish for the “heinous and cowardly suicide bombing”. Signalling a shift from its earlier position, China signed off on the UNSC statement.